Suppose you recently purchased the top-performing air purifier and are worried about keeping it in perfect operating condition. In that case, you may be wondering what happens if an air purifier got wet. What does a wet filter mean? Keep reading to find out.

KEY TAKEAWAYS:

  • Most air purifiers can handle a bit of moisture, within reason, but some designs can brave the elements better than others.
  • Do not get true HEPA filters wet, as it can severely decrease their overall efficacy.
  • It is fine to get electrostatic filters or activated carbon filters wet, as that is how they are typically meant to be cleaned.

What Happens if an Air Purifier Gets Wet?

The short answer. Let’s try to break it down a bit. It depends on the type of air purifier you have, the type of filters included, where the purifier got wet, and how wet it got. There are plenty of different air purifiers out there and some can take a bit of moisture and others cannot.

Additionally, you may find yourself asking, ‘should I run an air purifier all the time or just when I am home?’. Knowing how long you should keep your air purifier running is very crucial as not only will it save you so much money in terms of energy consumption but it might also last long.

Air Purifier Types and Moisture

Here are the various types of air purifiers out there and how they react to moisture.

Insider Tip

HEPA filters are made from various layers of strata of differing thicknesses and materials.

True HEPA Filters

Air purifiers that include true or genuine HEPA filters should not get wet, as the overall efficacy of the filter could become diminished. HEPA filters are made from various layers of strata of differing thicknesses and materials. Some can handle moisture, while others cannot. This is why HEPA filters cannot be cleaned and must be disposed of and replaced every six months to one year.

HEPA-Style Filters

Some air purifiers include filters made in the style of a HEPA filter that has not been qualified as a true or genuine HEPA filter. While these HEPA-style filters lack some of the efficacy of their cousins, some of them can be cleaned with water and a microfiber cloth. In other words, if the filter gets wet, it should be fine. Just give it plenty of time to dry before reinserting it back into the air purifier. HEPA-style filters can take up to one full day to dry, so please consider that before placing them back in the purifier.

Electrostatic Filters

Electrostatic filters can handle water pretty well, so you should have no problem if an electrostatic air purifier gets wet. Just remove the filter and give it some time to dry, which should take around an hour or so. Then place it back into the air purifier and give it a whirl. As a matter of fact, electrostatic filters can be cleaned by running them under gentle flowing water and wiping them down with a microfiber cloth.

Activated Carbon Filters

The same goes for activated carbon filters, though it will depend on the make and model of the filter itself. Most activated carbon filters can be cleaned with water and a dust rag, so it should be fine if your activated carbon air purifier encounters a bit of moisture. As with electrostatic filters, give the activated carbon filter time to dry off before attempting to reinsert it into the air purifier. The drying process should take around an hour or so, though this metric could vary depending on the thickness of the filter.

Insider Tip

While these HEPA-style filters lack some of the efficacy of their cousins, some of them can be cleaned with water and a microfiber cloth. In other words, if the filter gets wet, it should be fine.

UV Air Purifiers

You should exercise caution when mixing water with one of those UV air purifiers. The internal components include some sensitive electronics and chipsets to create UV light. These components can become damaged when wet. If you are cleaning your UV air purifier, we recommend using a dry microfiber cloth instead of a damp cloth. You should also never run your UV air purifier underwater from the faucet. Just exercise common sense and everything will be fine.

Ionic Air Purifiers and Ozone Generators

These devices work by releasing negatively charged ions or ozone into the atmosphere, so they lack an actual filter. However, they do tend to include plenty of active electronics, so you should still exercise caution when it comes to moisture. If you are looking to clean an ionic air purifier or an ozone generator, use a dry microfiber cloth and work along the exterior of the unit slowly and gently. If it is exposed to heavy moisture, some of the electronic components could short circuit.

If you need an air purifier with HEPA, activated carbon and ionizer, try the hybrid magic clean air purifier. This will enable you to enjoy all the benefits of each air filter in one air purifier.

Warning

Air purifiers that include true or genuine HEPA filters should not get wet, as the overall efficacy of the filter could become diminished.

F.A.Q.S

Should you wash HEPA filters with water?

No. You should never wash a true or genuine HEPA filter with water. As a matter of fact, these filters should not be cleaned at all as this can damage the internal components.


What are HEPA filters made of?

There is no universal standard when it comes to what HEPA filters are made of, so long as they do their job. HEPA filters are made from animal hair, vegetable fibers, synthetic fibers, glass, and much more.


Why might cleaning a HEPA filter be a bad idea?

HEPA filters feature dozens upon dozens of layers of various materials, each working in concert to capture and trap airborne pollutants. The ecosystem of a HEPA filter is fragile and cleaning it can damage some of these layers.



STAT: To meet the HEPA standard, a filter is estimated to remove 99.97 percent of particles that are 0.3 microns (or micrometers) in size from the air that passes through them, though this means that particles smaller than 0.3 microns can escape the HEPA filter. (source)

Lawrence Bonk

Lawrence Bonk is a copywriter with a decade of experience in the tech space, with columns appearing in Engadget, Huffington Post and CBS, among others. He has a cat named Cinnamon.

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